“In recent years, compact cars have heavily featured but there was none of significance launched here…”

Detroit, Michigan.

The big daddy of all auto shows didn’t offer much new for folks with lean budgets this year…

But if you are in the market for trucks, super cars and green vehicles then there’s plenty to feast your eyes upon at the North American International Auto Show. In recent years, new compact cars have heavily featured but there was none of significance launched here during this year’s press preview days.

Asian manufacturers tend to dominate that market segment and increasingly they choose to launch their new wares at other shows such as the now important Los Angeles extravaganza in November of the preceding model year.

Read: All That Sparkles – Alexandra Straub at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show (Jan. 22, 2015)

But those whose work demands truck ownership will not be disappointed with new offerings populating the stands here. Traditionally, domestic manufacturers have dominated the truck market but now the so-called import manufacturers (most of whom now operate full production lines and design centres here in Canada and the US) are mounting a series challenge.

The introduction of the Nissan Titan at the turn of the century nibbled at the full-size market but 2016 Nissan Titan XD could make some more substantial waves. It takes its design lead from the Big Guys, with a bold and bulky design because that’s what consumers want. Nissan doesn’t threaten to be number one in performance and fuel economy because it believes you can’t have it both ways. Arguing that excelling in one often comes at a cost to the other. Listening to its existing owners and new customers it determined being “up there” in both areas will check more consumer boxes.

The fully equipped XD promises a towing capability of more than 12,000 pounds and payload capacity of 2,000 pounds with the fuel-efficiency of a half-ton pickup. Looking forward to later this year when we can put our truck expert Ian Harwood into a production version of the Cummins 5.0-litre V8 Turbo Diesel Crew Cab example on show here. No prices yet or news of a rollout for the rest of the new Titan range.

Read: Boom, Boom, Buzz – Zack Spencer at the Detroit Auto Show (January 22, 2015)

Our Zack Spencer shares his thoughts on another truck grabbing some limelight at the show:

“The Detroit-three automakers might have the lion’s share of full size pickup sales but it’s the Toyota Tacoma mid-size pickup that rules the road, outselling the competition two-to-one.

“Toyota is offering a heavily updated Tacoma with a new 3.5L V6, replacing the old 4.0L V6, and choice of either a 6-speed manual or automatic transmission. The engine features direct injection technology and should vastly improve fuel economy. These and other updates should ensure the latest Tacoma remains dominant.”

Hybrid and electric powered-vehicles are no longer a novelty feature here and now an increasing share of the floor space. Virtually every manufacturer has a production model to sell or a promise of more for the near future.

The second generation Chevrolet Volt looks nearly as sharp as the artist’s impression of the first model, which didn’t live up to its promised looks when it rolled off the production line. More importantly, the new version delivers much more in fuel economy.

Alexandra Straub reports on its compact sibling: “For the EV enthusiast or those looking for alternative fuel user Chevrolet expands its electrifying portfolio with the Bolt EV Concept. With a range of more than 300 kilometres, this all-electric stylish crossover is aimed for the masses, not just the select few.

“While it’s still a concept, pricing for this type of vehicle will be in the $30,000 range. Not cheap, but certainly attainable. It even allows you to use a smartphone to perform as the key fob.”

Acura is showing off the return of its simply beautiful NSX sports car to the market. The Porsche-loving Jerry Seinfeld was flown in to add some celebrity power but there was no need because this $150,000-plus super car speaks loudly for itself.

It will be powered by a new Honda V6 mated to a nine-speed dual clutch transmission, assisted greatly by three electric motors – one for each of the front wheels and another to add torque while the turbos get up to speed. Interesting that Honda should be getting back into F1 racing, now it features hybrid power plants!

Ford is teasing showgoers with a stunning new 600-horsepower Ford GT, which will more than likely have a price sticker similar to that of the NSX.

The Infiniti Q60 concept’s premiere appearance was somewhat overshadowed by the aforementioned machines in the media here. However, Alfonso Albaisa, the Infiniti executive director of design, delivered a passionate description of the high-performance sports coupe that will come to market within the next year with a price tag somewhat lower than the Ford and Acura products.

Contact: keith [dot] morgan [at] drivewaybc [dot] ca

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